Olympic spirit will lift the economy - minister


The former Olympics chief and Treasury Minister Lord Deighton has told peers the London Games demonstrated Britain knows how to get the economy back on track.

Lord Deighton opened a debate on the UK economy in his first speech from the dispatch box on 29 January 2013.

He said: "What this country showed this past summer is that we do have the people, the know-how, the creativity, the teamwork and the determination to deliver in a way that can take the world's breath away."

He added the "government have made great strides in getting spending under control" but described it as "a continuing battle".

Labour's Treasury spokesman Lord Eatwell, a Cambridge University professor of economics, countered that "the government's attempt to stimulate growth has been a failure, the government's attempt to cut the deficit is a failure".

Lord Eatwell joked that his "former pupil" Lord Deighton, whom he taught at Cambridge in the 1970s, would be an "excellent replacement" for Chancellor George Osborne.

Lord Skidelsky, biographer of John Maynard Keynes, called for the government to take advantage of the low interest rates it was being charged and pay for the HS2 rail link itself.

The crossbench peer said the debt would be higher as a result "but so will the capital stock and the economy itself and the increased output can be taxed to finance the cost of the extra debt".

Former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lamont of Lerwick criticised banking regulations and a lack of lending to businesses.

He said: "The risk is that the new businesses that drive innovation, that produce the new products, are going to be strangled because of the lack of credit."

The latest GDP figures showed the UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the last three months of 2012, fuelling fears the economy could re-enter recession.

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